Wednesday, March 07, 2012

guns & music

I learn a lot of good things from song lyrics. 

In 1976 sometime in April as I was completing the 8th grade and a few buds were going to go to a concert. I got permission to go and even though I didn't know who any of the bands were I did the usual walk from Hilltop, NJ to the Record Museum (store) in Deptford Mall. For 14.00 dollars purchased my first concert ticket. The date of the show was to be June 14th and there were about 6 of us going of whom I only remember two of them. Kenny Mohr, my best friend at the time and Jim McGranahan.

It was something else. Dicky Betts and Great Southern, The J. Geils Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Peter Frampton. Just waiting to get into the open air Philly landmark JFK Stadium (site of Live Aid) was a trip. Let's just say the bearded southerners in '76 were a bit overwhelming for this young sheltered suburban kid to get. I did a lot of staring and growing up that day. 

I didn't know what partying was in a 70's concert scene and needless to say there was a lot of beer being confiscated upon entry as there was a sweet smell wafting throughout the day. Me and Kenny,really Kenny, had somehow got a hold of the mini truck with all of the confiscated beer driving in the stadium and snagged two american Budweisers each...they were warm and some might say hot. Drinking that coveted hot beer in the sun and being about 13 years old with an empty stomach was not necessarily a good thing. 

Dicky Betts didn't play long and somehow we felt they left the stage early due to inferior sound. J. Geils ripped it up....a serious party band. Now I had also purchased Skynyrd's double-live album (pictured above) prior to the concert and I knew all the songs. Sweet Home, Freebird, Gimme Three Steps and so on. The one song that had lyrically really stuck with me was Saturday Night Special. It struck a chord with me. Here's this band that is really the crown of Southern Rock singing against guns. The last bit of lyrics in that song go like this - "Well handguns are made for killin', they ain't no good for nothing else, so why don't we dump 'em, to the bottom of the sea".
I always thought that that was wisdom right there. Even back then, at 13 years old. I couldn't see a purpose for a handgun. They really ain't no good for nothin' else. 

Today whenever I hear Do You Feel Like I Do it forever reminds me of carefree summer days. It was over a year later when three band members and several others would suffer a tragic death with the band in a plane crash.

So why don't we, dump those handguns people, to the bottom of the sea?

 "before some old fool come 'round here, gonna shoot either you or me".

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